EGBA warns Germany not to follow the Niedersachsen ‘blocking order’

Maarten Haijer – EGBA

Brussels-based online gambling trade body, The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA), has warned Germany against implementing the payment processing blocking order sanctioned by the regional ministry of Lower Saxony.

Last week, Boris Pistorius, Lower Saxony’s minister for home affairs and sports, ordered a cease-and-desist order against a “large, international payment service provider from participating in payment transactions in connection with illegal gambling in Germany”.

The Niedersachsen government seeks to implement its payment blocking order across Germany, restricting the markets active incumbents to offering sports betting services only, complying with the transitional mandate of Germany’s State Treaty on Gambling.

The EGBA warns German regulatory stakeholders that ‘payment blocking’ should hold no part in German gambling’s re-regulation.

Maarten Haijer, EBGA Secretary-General, details that a ‘more fundamental rethink is needed’ to develop an effective regulatory framework and bring the country’s gambling policies into the 21st century.

“Restrictive or prohibitive measures, such as payment blocking measures, are an attempt to create artificial walls around online markets and can be ineffective and detrimental to player protection,” he said.

“That’s because online gambling is, like any other online consumer market, consumer-driven and players can easily search around the internet for alternative products, brands or the payment means they prefer.

“Trying to limit the options available to players will not change this reality and – by restricting their choices – might be counterproductive because it will push players towards unlicensed or unregulated websites, where they might be exposed to inadequate consumer protections and chances of redress.

“To remedy this, the German authorities should establish an attractive and modern online gambling regulation which acknowledges that many Germans play online casino games and ensures they – and all other players – can play within a safe and regulated environment.”

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